Herbal supplements are widely used by Americans to provide a variety of health benefits. It is important to understand that while these supplements contain natural ingredients, they can be very dangerous when taken in the wrong situations. One of these inopportune times may be prior to undergoing plastic surgery. A recent study published in the July 2013 issue of the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery examined the medication lists of 200 patients scheduled to undergo facial plastic surgery procedures. Roughly half of these patients were taking at least one type of herbal supplement and on average, patients were taking three different supplements. Unfortunately, many of these supplements can be very dangerous when taken right before undergoing plastic surgery. The study found that 35 patients were taking supplements which have been associated with an increased risk in bleeding, including bilberry, bromelain, fish oil, flaxseed oil, garlic, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), selenium and vitamin E. According to the study, many patients were also taking a variety of other supplements which can potentially be dangerous when paired with surgery. These include:
- Echinacea – May cause liver damage when used with general anesthesia
- Ginkgo – A powerful anticoagulant (prevents blood from clotting)
- Ginseng – Linked to hypertension
- St. John’s Wart – Has a mild MAO inhibitor effect and may intensify the effects of anesthesia
- Ginger – May inhibit blood clotting
During your initial consultation, Dr. David Bottger will review your medical history and ask you about any medications and supplements you may be taking. Many patients don’t discuss the herbal supplements they use, but it is important to understand the dangers you may face if Dr. Bottger isn’t aware of everything you consume on a regular basis. In most instances, it is recommended that you stop taking all supplements approximately three weeks prior to the date of your surgery. By doing so, you will avoid the increased risk of complications associated with many of these supplements. If you live in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area and are interested in plastic surgery, please contact Dr. David Bottger today to schedule your initial consultation.